“You’re different from the rest,” he says. “I don’t know many girls like you.” This “compliment” is always delivered in a tone of wonder, as though it’s impossible to imagine that the average female is a worthy companion. Every time I hear it, I want to ask him, “What’s wrong with being an average woman?” Quit with the condescension, bub. I AM like other women. And I’m proud to be.
I’m not a mythical creature. You’re fetishizing my alleged uniqueness, but your logic is full of holes. For one thing, I’ll bet you don’t even know enough women to determine whether I’m like “most” of the female population. On every continent, ladies are busy being their own badass selves. We’re all very different, but we share a common bond—we don’t appreciate it when some derisive boy tries to lump us together according to his own misguided perception.
I call bullsh*t when I see it. For example, if a dude wants me to find his “different from the rest” spiel flattering, he’s got another thing coming. The more I think about it, the dumber it sounds. Seriously, don’t expect me to take that well. More to the point, don’t expect such a moronic line to help you get laid. (Yeah, that’s another thing we gals are good at—we can tell when your stumbling words are an effort at enticing us into the sack.)
I know my mind. If you ever bother getting to know a woman beyond her surface defenses, you’ll discover another shared trait: we think, feel, and interpret independently. I don’t care how much our friends influence us, how proudly we stick to or stray from convention. Come right down to it, we—just like you!—use our experiences and beliefs to interpret our lives.
I have a killer sense of humor. You’d better believe I get a million laughs out of life. The average woman faces so much negging, so many preconceived notions about who she is, she has to acquire a razor-sharp wit in order to survive. Whether slapstick or deadpan, I’ve yet to meet a chick who couldn’t spin a hilarious bad-first-date story.
I learn from my mistakes. Hell no, nobody said women are perfect. We’re more aware of our faults than you are and frankly, we judge ourselves way more harshly than you ever could. But like most other gals, I own up to my mistakes. I figure out where I went wrong. I work to get it right the next time. Perhaps you do the same? Maybe you and I aren’t so different after all.
I look beyond stereotypes. When we treat gender like an unbreachable difference, we set ourselves up for unfair comparisons. Depending on who you talk to, women are either gentle or conniving. Men, in contrast, are identified as either aggressive or clueless. I suspect that both women and men are smart enough to overcome such flawed thinking.
I strive to support girls. Girls are fierce AF! I spent almost a decade working with elementary-age kids. In the classroom and on the playground, many budding women face blatantly sexist attitudes. It’s an onslaught. Even as we assure ourselves that society has changed, confident girls STILL get called “bossy” and “bitchy” while arrogant little boys garner praise for their leadership skills. As a grown-up girl, it’s my job to change the narrative. Maybe I can’t make the whole of society improve its ways but I can do my best to be a good influence for these young gals—and all the women I know certainly do the same.
I respect women’s strength and diversity. Women acknowledge that we think differently, come from a range of backgrounds, and most of all, have the power to thrive despite adverse circumstances. I think we all recognize some basic facts about the world—namely, that throughout history, we’ve faced unfair limitations on our freedom. No matter how distinctive our ideas may be, they all stem from a fundamental struggle to be taken seriously.
I believe in equality. Yep, feminism in its dictionary-definition sense: men and women are equally valuable. It’s no more acceptable for women to belittle men than for men to belittle women. An a**hole is an a**hole, period, and no one wants to be unfairly labeled.
I sincerely like being a woman. There’re plenty of f*cked up aspects, but I’d never trade it for anything. I feel good in my skin. I’m proud of who I am. This mean ol’ world wants to separate us, make us feel ashamed or angry. And all your “not like the others” nonsense sure ain’t helping. I refuse to dwell on it. I’ve got no time for negatives.
I sincerely like men. We like you, gents. We need you as much as you need us. It’s about time to appreciate that symbiosis and cut the constant backbiting. You can leave your snide remarks at the door. I’ll do the same. I won’t insult your whole sex by referring to you as “one of the rare good ones” if you’ll promise me the same.
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